The Lost Art of the Thank You Note

Have you ever noticed that when you are passionate about something, the words all just flow? I’m totally over my writing block and all it took was a Thank You note.

I recently wrote a note to someone I’ve never met and probably never will. The woman will be celebrating 75 years with an organization near and dear to my heart. As a way to bridge the generations, an advisor suggested we write a note thanking this woman for her many years of service. Hands down, it was the easiest note I’ve ever written.

How many thank you notes have you written lately? I write them quite often. I thought (and have been regularly told) this wasn’t normal until I took an informal Twitter poll and discovered the “lost art of the thank you note” might not be lost after all.

TJ Dietderich recently wrote a note to someone for just doing their job and writes them often, just to be nice.

“I think it’s charming!” she said. “And it proves to people that I’m not all digital and soulless e-mailing all the time.”

Most people are savvy to writing a thank you note for a job interview, and Jason Mollica said he wrote one “thanking for an interview at my current job.” He doesn’t just write thank you notes when it might set him apart from other candidates, he writes them when his children receive a gift or a friend goes out of their way.

Jessica Kohler and Amy Z. are a kindred spirits.

“I have nightmare stories about thank you notes,” Jess said.

amy_z also often writes thank you notes for gifts or other kindnesses.

I never would have guessed that the secret to unlock my writer’s block was hiding in a thank you note.


I enjoy writing. But lately it has become more of an item to cross off my to-do list than something that excites me. I’ve set aside the children’s book I’ve been working on for about a decade to focus on more tangible projects, but every day I get more and more un-inspired and completing those projects just become less fun.

A quick Google search indicates that “blogger’s block” and “writer’s block” plague everyone at some time. There are thousands of tips for battling each. No one tip will work for everyone and many are implausible. I know I can’t go for a run or take a nap when writer’s block creeps in at work.

What has worked for me is getting riled up about a topic (related to the current project or not) and writing my thoughts and opinions, even for just a few moments. I may not be inspired to finish the project or the book, but seeing words on a page makes me feel better.

I’d love to hear your tips (even the implausible ones!) for defeating writer’s block.